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album review: broke with expensive taste, azealia banks

Azealia-Banks-Broke-With-Expensive-Taste-2014-1200x1200Those who aren’t familiar with the music of Azealia Banks will likely have seen her name somewhere on the internet. Most of her notoriety has stemmed from her ongoing beef with Iggy Azalea; a lot of which has been carried out over a series of tweets fired at each other. The rest of her notoriety comes from the release of her unapologetically crass single ‘212’ in late 2011. For a song that is in no way radio friendly, it garnered her a lot of attention from typically mainstream audiences and proved to the world that Banks is a rapper who can hold her own against the big names.

Her debut studio album ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’ is a statement that she has plenty more tricks up her sleeve. It does come with an explicit language warning, so don’t even bother thinking that maybe she’s cleaned up her act for the sake of getting more airplay. If there’s one thing we can applaud Banks for, it’s speaking her mind and staying true to her art.

The selection of ‘Idle Delilah’ as the opening track was a wise decision. It’s one of the more accessible songs on the album and it’s incredibly smooth and catchy. Perhaps its role is to lull the listener into a false sense of security, because the album gets grittier as it goes on, but you’ll be intrigued to hear more.

The same can be said about ‘Gimme A Chance’. It’s another earworm number, but it did take me a few listens to really appreciate it. This is about where the ‘easing the listener in’ exercise ends. Suddenly we’re thrown down the rabbit hole and into Banks’ 212-esque lyricism.

As controversial as it might be to say, the production behind the album is reminiscent of something you would hear on an Iggy Azalea mixtape. Although flattery in the form of imitation probably wasn’t the aim here, it definitely has some Iggy vibes. An attempt to show her how it should be done, perhaps?

Other highlights are ‘Yung Rapunxel’, ‘Soda’ and ‘Chasing Time’, all songs with the potential to gain Banks an even wider fanbase and reach.

Broke With Expensive Taste demands you to pay attention to what Banks has to say. It wouldn’t be fair to dismiss any of her work here purely because of what you might have heard about her in a tabloid context. It’s a good album and it’s worth checking out, even if you consider yourself to be ‘Team Iggy’. Banks deserves your time because there is a lot of talent on display in this offering.
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